Llew Mejia is an illustrator creating hand-drawn and digital artworks primarily for textiles and print. His bright and busy illustrations overflow with flora and fauna. He grew up between Mexico and the Southwestern United States. He lives in New York City and loves buying folk art, watering his plants, and perusing through old occult books. He has worked for clients like Apple, Anthropologie, and L’Occitane, to name a few.
Tell us about the work featured in Papirmass (not pictured).
This piece is about moths and caterpillars, and like most of my work is inspired by all sorts of things from nature. I like things that go through metamorphosis because I feel I do the same every once in a while.
What is your creative process?
I usually make my ideas on pieces of paper lying around the studio. After that, I start painting on them, figuring out a palette and playing around with composition, or I scan them in and finish digitally.
What’s a typical day look like?
I wake up, drink coffee, hang out with my three cats, and start work. Sometimes I go for a jog. I work throughout the day similar to people with normal 9 – 5 jobs.
What are the themes in your work?
Thematically, my work is almost always about nature or the natural world. That’s always been an interest of mine. Sometimes I focus on folkloric renditions of life.
How do you get into your creative zone?
I listen to music or a podcast. I definitely need my coffee before I do anything, so I suppose that’s my most important ritual of all. I force myself to be in the zone, which I’ve heard is harder for some, but I don’t have a problem just working all day. I work from my studio at home, and it’s easy for me to focus there.
What’s your studio like?
It’s a big open loft with a bunch of cacti and stuff I collect, mostly folk art and ethnographic art. It has a ton of natural light since it is very open and full of windows. I also live there. So there is a kitchen and a toilet and everything else humans need. Ha ha ha.
What was hard about starting out?
It was hard figuring out how to get and make work that was consistently good. But the reality is that’s an ongoing thing that is challenging in everyone’s career, so it never really goes away.
Why live in New York City?
I think it’s super lively and has plenty of creative inspiration. NYC is full of great museums and artists and people that you can observe and feel really small in comparison too. You can be completely ignored in a massive city, and I like that.
Why do you love being an artist?
You can choose what to do and not to do with your practice, and no one can tell you what to do. A lot of freedom!
What sucks about being an artist?
The money isn’t always good, but I’m willing to sacrifice that in exchange for more freedom.
Any advice for aspiring artists?
Keep making work that you like making and eventually someone will see that you enjoy making it and appreciate it for what it is.
Llew Mejia is our October 2018 artist.
See more at www.llewmejia.com